Very Practical Politics
George W Plunkitt was a long serving Senator of the State of New York and represented the Senate District that was the fifteen in number in the administrative hierarchy. Another name that was used to refer to him was the Tammany hall of New York. It was from this that he was also a manager at the middle level management and one that was responsible for shaping the U.S. politics and history in general. This is precise classic summary of the undertakings of the street level politics which came into the public limelight in the 1905 due to its publishment in the stories featured in the local dairies then. This happened in the hall known as Tammany which was then the political central place of New York City and also during the happenings of the civil war in the 1930s.New York city then had a population of wealthy individuals and had very few cases of criminal activity being reported. However, it was George who broke from the norm and decided to give his own interpretation of how to obtain and to keep power.
This happened when he held an interview with the then local newspaper, the “New York Post” with the journalist known as William Riordan.He documented everything from his office and without any alterations and used this to publish the “Plunkitt Musings” He analyzed the remarks and sought to justify between honest and dishonest graft and also sought to demystify the myth that the democracy that people preach to justify the happenings of a particular country is not really democracy but as a tool for people to benefit from it and the real democracy is in where the majority have their way and the minority have their say has just remained to be a pigment of peoples’ imagination..Leaders in return instead of taking action through reading the mood of the people decide to read books and that may have theories but they may not necessary match the actual situation on the ground.
The definition of Honest Graft refers to the administration of power for personal gains which is patronage based and contemptuous honest practitioner of what is known now as machine politics. This referred to as the party that commands enough mandate from its members and maintains both administrative and political management of the city or area of representation. He gave a speech that was later used by the journalists as mentioned above which sought to define what honest and dishonest graft was. He said that honest graft was pursuing of one’s party interests and those of the electorate coupled with self interests as well.E.g. the purchase of public land for public projects and later reselling it at exorbitant price .Dishonest graft is the hunt for your very own selfish interests regardless of others.E.g.buying of land meant for public projects and then using political patronage to have the intended project for public benefit established and thereby making profit for it.
Secondly,Plunkitt was in the senior hierarchy in the management of the party that sponsored him, believing in everything that went against the best practice in the civil service e.g. political patronage,favours for appointments and many others. This was in effort to curtail the civil service system that he so happened to hate so much and believed that it would be the basis for the collapse of the entire system of Governance of the United States of America. In addition he identified that the civil service law was a big deception in that it locked people who were ready and willing to bring genuine change in the U.S. administration but were locked out due to the examination that they undertook. It also so happened that out of the administrative area of New York they would only get a small percentage of the number of civil service seats in the country and yet they had a large influence in the U.S. politics then.
However, the advantageous point of this was that there was political togetherness between the constituents and their leaders in that they were instrumental in support of the poor e.g. provision of loans that assisted them to start businesses or these loans helped then even during times of emergency. They also in addition pushed for long term policy solutions to improve the situation that the poor were faced with welfare improvements being the key pillar in their quest. He said that if you wanted to hold on to power and influence in the area of representation it was important to know everyone in the area as opposed to use of intellectual knowledge to get political advantage.He says that it was an aspect of taking care of the people and holding their interests close at heart and surely during the election day they will be sure look out for your interests too.
There were other lessons that Plunkitt taught in addition to the main lessons taught above. He taught people how to be a Statesman. If one wanted to excel he said that one should not show his intellectual prowess but rather should come down to the level of the ordinary people who were his/her electorate and who would be instrumental in his/her political success. This would be achieved by getting to identify a particular problem area and identify a solution that would make people to follow you. A second concept that he taught was that of ungratefulness in the political game where he says he was betrayed by his political running mate by also vying for elective post that he was also interested in and later broke contacts with him.
He compared this to the electorate whereby if you keep the pre-election promises, they will re-elect you and if you don’t they will cut ties with you. The third lesson that he taught was that favors must have an equal or greater reciprocal to those advanced and also talked about the betrayal of the Republicans of whom when they made it to top they forgot the favors they owed. He also talked about the issue of dress code when in public in that you should look more or less the same with the common man and also communicate a language that everyone is able to hear and identify with .He also advised that one should into consideration the level of education that is predominant amongst your electorate and match their interests since most of them were illiterate.
The conduct of a successful politician was a subject of consideration since he argued that to be successful, one was not supposed to drink since he believed that it was a curse and that it had destroyed young people with potential of success and would only compared to the examinations that were held in the civil service. He also talked of use of money politics whereby both contestants was a requirement to contribute to the expenses besides the sponsoring party and the criteria would be the duration of time of service if elected and also salaries that they would earn. He also said that for a city as New York, there had to be someone scoring the shorts and making critical decisions to maintain the success of the city and for affairs and day to day activities to run smoothly.
In conclusion, for democracy of Americas to be maintained, there has to be a radical surgery in the civil service system and do away with the elements that are detrimental to patriotism and stealing the worthy jobs from people who have sweated for them truly.